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A Composer’s Experience with FILM FORWARD

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Andrés Martínez Ojeda

In this small world of variety, complexity, and contrast, the term “film forward” is a great alternative for understanding life, culture, and sharing. “Film” is this great learning window, and “forward”represents the sharing, reflecting, inspiring, and understanding among different cultures.

The FILM FORWARD program in Bogotá, Colombia, generated an incredible atmosphere of exchange and knowledge. The memories are very positive for my country. I reunited with one of my film school friends from New York—Andrew MacLean, director of On the Ice. The FILM FORWARD team, Andrew, and myself had the chance to see the results of the chemistry generated from a screening of On the Ice for a diverse audience interested in Andrew’s aesthetic treatment, the argument of the film, and the geographical environment in which the movie takes place.

During another screening at Centro Cultural from Ciudad Bolivar neighborhood in the South of Bogotá, we all had the chance to see teenagers and their school teachers interested in On The Ice, through a variety of pertinent and interesting questions for Andrew. The students appreciated the nice images and scenery of Alaska, but some of them identified with the personal problems faced by the characters in the film.

We had nice reflections around the screening, and I also felt excited when Sikumi was screened. Sikumi, MacLean’s short film before On the Ice, was a film for which I had the chance to write the music score. It means a lot for me because the timing of the shooting of the project coincided with my transition of moving from New York to Bogotá. Student and teachers again were into the short film and I spoke about the music as well.

The screening at Ciudad Bolivar coincided with “Ojo Al Sanchocho” Film Festival organized by people from the neighborhood. At the same time I could appreciate Andrew, not only as the filmmaker (I know about his gifted talent from other several projects I’ve had the chance to work with him), but also as the speaker willing to share things about his culture. In addition, I met Andrew MacLean the traveller.

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

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